Deadly Attack on Coptic Church Sparks Cairo Riots

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The so-called "Arab Spring" took a deadly turn in Cairo over the weekend, as an attack on a Coptic Christian church sparked riots, killing 24 people and wounding at least 200 others.

The rioting was worst violence since civilian protests brought about the ouster of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in March.

Police arrested dozens of people in Cairo's Tahrir Square when clashes between Coptic Christians, Muslims, and security forces escalated out of control.

Christians had gathered to demonstrate after Muslims partially demolished a church last week.

Click play for analysis from CBN News Sr. International Correspondent Gary Lane on what Christians in the Middle East are facing right now.

Some of the leaders of both the Christian and Muslim activists said the clashes were not as much related to religion as they were to the army's handling of the situation.

Rioters set cars on fire and burned army vehicles. The army's response was described as brutal by friends of several of the victims, who posted their conditions and video on the Internet.

Attacks against Christian churches have increased since Mubarak's ouster. Christians represent just 10 percent of the country's 80 million people.

The army has controlled the Egyptian government for the past 40 years.

Egyptian leaders held an emergency cabinet meeting to decide how to respond to charges of brutality among their forces.

The latest violence has sparked new concerns about the upcoming parliament elections, scheduled for late November.

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John Waage has covered politics and analyzed elections for CBN News since 1980, including primaries, conventions, and general elections. 

He also analyzes the convulsive politics of the Middle East.